From screening to safety
Screening for domestic violence may lead to a disclosure. It is important to remember that this may be the first time that she has trusted someone enough to disclose her abuse history.

There are several safety planning tools that you can offer your client. One of these tools was developed by the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (2017). This resource provides a comprehensive guide on helping female victims stay safe while living in, or leaving, an abusive relationship.

Your role after a disclosure is to:
  • Acknowledge her journey and the courage it must have taken to share her story with you.
  • Assess her immediate safety needs.
  • Provide referrals to domestic violence and/or legal services.
  • Ensure that she knows that you are a safe person to talk to and that she can reach out to you at anytime.
  • The most important thing for her safety is to ensure that she is connected to domestic violence services. In your region, this may include domestic violence and sexual assault outreach services as well as emergency and second stage transitional housing and support services. Domestic violence interveners are best suited to discuss the development of safety plans and can ensure that they follow up with the client on an ongoing basis as her safety changes over time.
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Toolkit for responding to trauma-related abuse

A guide for addictions, mental health and primary care professionals
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